Thursday 21 September 2017

WATCH: Incredible scenes as commentator breaks down in tears following Syria's last-gasp goal to make World Cup play-offs

Syria's national soccer team celebrates at the conclusion of their match with Iran which drew 2-2 during their Round 3 - Group A World Cup qualifier at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Syria's national soccer team celebrates at the conclusion of their match with Iran which drew 2-2 during their Round 3 - Group A World Cup qualifier at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
One fan holds a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad as Syrian soccer fans celebrate after their team scored a goal against Iran during their Round 3 - Group A World Cup qualifier, at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. The match draw 2-2. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
People gather as they watch a telecast of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers between Iran and Syria, in Damascus, Syria September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Syria's soccer team celebrates after scoring a goal against Iran during their Round 3 - Group A World Cup qualifier at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. The match draw 2-2. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
People hold Syrian Flags as they watch the 2018 World Cup qualifiers between Iran and Syria, in Damascus, Syria September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
People gather and cheer as they watch the World Cup 2018 qualifiers between Iran and Syria, in Damascus, Syria September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A boy holds a Syrian flag in a car at Umayyad Square in Damascus, Syria, during the World Cup 2018 qualifiers between Iran and Syria, September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Syria will face a two-legged play-off against Australia to win a place at next year's World Cup finals after a dramatic finish to their Group A game against already-qualified Iran in Tehran.

Omar Al Somah scored three minutes into injury time to grab a 2-2 draw and the point required to pip Uzbekistan to the play-off slot after the Uzbeks were held to a goalless draw by South Korea in Tashkent.

South Korea's point was enough to earn automatic qualification while in Group B a second half Saudi Arabia winner over Japan sent them through alongside their already-qualified opponents.

Syria, who had played all their qualifying games away from home due to the war ravaging their homeland, briefly looked set to book an automatic place after Tamer Haj Mohamed's early goal.

If the Syrians had held out for an improbable victory while South Korea failed to beat Uzbekistan, one of the most improbable World Cup qualifying stories could have been complete.

But two goals from Sardar Azmoun put Iran in control and left the Syrians in danger of missing out completely until Al Somah's late strike which was greeted by delirious scenes in some parts of Damascus.

In Group B, the Saudis and Australia started the night level on 16 points in the race to join Japan in qualifying for Russia, with the Saudis' marginally better goal difference making them favourites.

Fahad Al Muwallad scored his side's crucial goal in the 63rd minute while the Australians toiled to a 2-1 success over Thailand and had to settle for a play-off place.

Tomi Juric put Australia in front after 69 minutes but Pokklaw Anan equalised for Thailand eight minutes from time. Matthew Leckie's winner for Australia four minutes later ultimately proved irrelevant.

In a Group A game with nothing but pride at stake, 2022 hosts Qatar were consigned to bottom place after a 2-1 home defeat by fellow strugglers China.

In Group B, Iraq finished their campaign with a second straight win 1-0 over the United Arab Emirates in Amman.

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